This May, Chicago Publishes will celebrate the Richard Harris “Morbid Curiosity” collection with a poetry contest and séance. Local writers are encouraged to visit the exhibit (on the Cultural Center’s fourth floor), and submit verses inspired by the collection. Winning poets will be featured on Chicago Publishes and included in a special program on early Chicago spiritualism and phantasmagoria. Please note that the deadline for submissions has been extended to April 1.
The program will take place on May 3, 7pm, in the GAR Rotunda. Paul Durica and Ben Reitman’s Pocket Guide to Hell will resurrect nineteenth century magician Harry Blackstone, Sr. (“The Great Blackstone”) to tell the history of early Chicago spiritualism. Blackstone will introduce and recreate the effects popularly used by spiritualists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including the “spirit paintings” of the mysterious Bangs Sisters, whose methods were never successfully disproved and who continue to have a following today. Nat Ward and Michelle Faust will provide period costuming and props.
Pocket Guide to Hell has organized a number of Chicago historical reenactments, including the Haymarket Affair reenactment, the 1915 Parade for the Unemployed, the Battle of the Halsted Street Viaduct, the Whitechapel Club initiation ceremonies, and Steele MacKaye’s Spectatorium. Pocket Guide will also host a three-part celebration of the Chicago River this summer–“Like a Second-Hand Sea”–which will include a recreation of Marquette and Joliet entering Chicago in a 40-foot voyager-style canoe, George Streeter’s shipwreck saloon (featuring live music and food by Haymarket Brewery), and a belated dedication of the 1900 reversal of the Chicago River. Learn more about upcoming events with the Pocket Guide to Hell Tumblr, by befriending Ben Reitman on facebook, or by joining the e-mail list through email@example.com.
Poetry submissions should be sent to Danielle.Chapman@explorechicago.org, or to Danielle Chapman, Publishing Industry Programs, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602. Please note in the subject line, or put to the attention of, “Submission for Morbid Curiosity Poetry Event.”